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The Right Wing Media

February 27th, 2009

Yet another study demonstrating the fallacy of the whole “liberal media” canard. This one focused on the visual coverage of politicians, analyzing which party’s members were covered using techniques that made them look better or worse. For example, far more Republicans were shot from lower angles, giving viewers the impression of “looking up” at the candidate. Democrats were more commonly shot from greater distances, giving a feeling of less familiarity, and were also far more likely to have their images presented without accompanying audio, whereas Republicans were much more often shown last, which causes viewers to remember them better.

This joins a wide range of other data, such as one that finds rather pronounced bias in the selection of news show guests, and a more recent one demonstrated that coverage of Obama was far more negative than was McCain’s despite Obama’s superlative campaign and McCain’s disastrous one. This in addition to rather obvious evidence in terms of outright coverage: Fox News is blatantly and unabashedly right-wing through and through, and there is no corresponding bias of that degree found elsewhere. MSNBC is as close as you’ll get, but they can’t hold a candle to the depth and strength of Fox’s political bias; furthermore, Fox’s financial success caused other networks, most notably CNN, to tilt strongly to the right. Then there is the preponderance of right-wing pundits. Before Olbermann and Maddow got their own shows, there were barely any liberals who had their own mainstream soapboxes, while conservatives with their own shows flooded both television and radio. And despite the few recent liberal breakthroughs, opinion and discussion shows are still predominantly right-wing.

It also helps to remember that the whole “liberal media” lie gained popular acceptance based on no evidence other than a study which found that 60% of journalists who responded to a survey had liberal leanings in their personal politics. To take this and conclude a liberal media is ludicrously inaccurate; such a survey might only demonstrate, for example, that liberal journalists participate in surveys more often. And it did nothing whatsoever to prove that personal politics of journalists had any effect whatsoever on the bias in their reporting. Conversely, there was another study which demonstrated that 66% of editors and publishers were conservative–much more significant as editors and publishers have far more influence on the political slant of the news reporting as a whole.

Not that any of this will change the common perception of the media being liberal, of course. The right wing is far too skilled at presenting this distortion–not to mention the fact that, after all, the media itself has a definite conservative slant, which means that they control the message, and the message they want to put out is that there’s a liberal slant.

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